Ohm K

Meet Trash-Free Goddess Stevie Van Horn

Katie & Katharine
Trash-free goddess Stevie Van Horn in the Ohm K Eco Elephant Set

Trash-free goddess Stevie Van Horn in the Ohm K Eco Elephant Set

We have teamed up with Stevie Van Horn to bring you a Summer Sustainability Series. This powerhouse of a woman is living TRASH-FREE and has so much to share. Through our series we're offering up a big dose of inspiration, an exciting giveaway, a view of how Ohm K works to be environmentally sustainable, and tips to make your daily life more eco-friendly. First, let us introduce you to our collaborator, Stevie Van Horn!

Hi ya darlin! Tell our community a lil bit about yourself and what brought you to Brooklyn - 

Hi!!! Haha Well my name is Stevie, I grew up in Colorado, home of amazing mountains, fresh air, and awesome people. I moved from Boulder about 4 years ago hankering for a change. I am a mountain baby but the day I realized I needed to move was when I looked up at this amazing sunset overlooking the flatirons and my heart didn't pitter patter like it always used to. To be stagnant in a beautiful spot is scary, but I knew it meant I needed a challenge and I chose a place that was the least comfortable for me, Hello NYC!

What inspired you to start this trash free journey? When did it begin? Do you remember the exact moment you decided to make this lifestyle change?

I've been trash free since April of last year, so a little over a year, and I was inspired by a very wasteful day where I just got home from grocery shopping and the trash was completely empty at the time. I live with 3 other girls so it was a rare moment. Anyhow, no one came home that whole day and even through dinner so the trash bin was mine for the taking and for some reason I decided to pay a bit of attention to it. Needless to say I had tons of plastic bags, all my goods were plastic packaged, I had food before that went bad so I threw a bunch of that out. I had dinner that night and prepared a big meal where a ton more was thrown away and I ended up overflowing the entire bin by myself in one day. I just remember looking down at it as the lid was shutting and being like... " Where does this really go?" That is the moment of obsession where I sat down and just researched for hours and was blown away with facts about my food waste, the clothes I buy, the toothpaste I use, all my plastics, and it was honestly impossible to turn around. It was like I opened my eyes for the first time and all I could see were these global issues that we are all apart of and they all revolve around our overconsumption and the things we choose to buy. Not doing anything about it was like going back to bed and giving up.

How has living trash-free impacted your relationships?

It has impacted my relationships in the best way possible! My friends are so motivating to me and also really supportive. At first a lot of my closest friends were like "Hmm I don't know if its actually possible" but after some time they were all on board which felt so amazing. They are all super earth conscious too which makes dinners and beach times really easy to coordinate.

What has been the most exciting part of this journey for you so far?

The most exciting part of this journey is the endless opportunities for change! There is such an amazing community ready to be minimal and clean for our planet. There are also so many problematic avenues in our everyday life that needs change; from our grocery stores to our kitchen, what clothes we buy, how we freshen up. Every single thing has a source and its so important to understand how we are getting these sources and questioning if there is a better way to get it. All in all, there will always be something to learn, there will be always something to change, and there will always be people who are interested and motivated to make a change, and I can live off that energy for positivity and sustainability forever.

Your Instagram features so many beautiful kitchen experiments and farmer's market hauls. What are some of your favorite recipes?

Hands down my favorite recipes are always smoothie recipes. Pretty much every single one I make I put on Instagram with a full recipe attached. It is just one of those things where you can crave anything and tailor your smoothie to involve your cravings. You crave green nutrients, add some spinach, carrots, or celery etc.. you crave caramel and chocolate, you add cocoa powder and dates. Another big one is banana bread. I am going to blog about my favorite one I made recently in the next week because I can't stop thinking about it.

Oooo that sounds amazing. Can't wait to read about it. How can we find out more about your journey, recipes, tips? 

Website: http://tradingwasteforabundance.com

Instagram: stevieyaaaay

I would sum up my Instagram as an intimate encounter into my sustainable everyday choices. haha does intimate sound creepy? Come join me on my intimate and sustainable journey hahaha.  However for a more thorough explanation of why I make my choices you gotta check out my blog and my website! The whole thing is about how to make life fun and sustainable. They go hand in hand and I can't wait for people to check it out! 

What is the ONE thing you'd urge everyone to do, eliminate, change about their routine to make an impact?

One thing I urge everyone to do to really make a difference is to avoid all plastics, and if not all plastics then the single use plastics and hot to-go cups. Single use plastics are such a nuisance because plastic never degrades fully so it will eventually end up in the landfill to live longer than us and even longer than the next couple generations. Often times they end up in oceans, streams, lakes or water ways, clogging the natural earth and suffocating animals and filling their belly with toxins. We need to rethink plastics and get it out of our food chain. Hot cups are lined with polyethylene which is also immortal so the hot coffee you had this morning for 20 minutes will be in the landfill forever, it is just not worth it. Bringing a mason jar or any other re-usable mug can make a world of a difference in saving our resources, other species, and keeping our oceans and streams looking like we never touched it. Another HUGE way to make a difference is to minimize meat and cheese. It takes about 2,700 gallons of water to produce 3 pounds of meat and the methane being given off the entire time of the cows life is outrageous. Meat production is one of the highest contributors to global warming. If you gave up meat and cheese for even 2 or 3 days of the week, it would be massively lessening your footprint.

What is on the horizon for you?

What is coming for me? Oh man that is an exciting question. I have immense excitement about all of this so I have too many projects in my head formulating all the time haha. I am going to throw a zero waste dinner at The Farm on Kent, monthly beach clean ups, definitely more delicious ways to lower your footprint at no cost to your hunger and delicious ways to maximize your health. 

We are so inspired by what you're doing. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for collaborating with us for this Summer Sustainability Series! 

Feeling inspired? Motivated? Have a lot of questions? GOOD! Let the conversation begin. You can find us on Instagram @liveohmk and Facebook. We have fun ideas, interviews and an exciting GIVEAWAY coming up! You could win an Ohm K Eco Elephant Set and Stevie's Trash-Free starter kit. The giveaway will be announced on Instagram so follow us and @stevieyaaaay

Today and always - YOU are Ohm K

Of food, thanks and ourselves

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Jessica Lehmann is a badass Brooklynite, Biker, Yogi, Health Loving Cook, who we are lucky enough to know, call a friend, and draw inspiration from on the regular. (She's actually the inspiration behind Ohm K's All Night Ohm Tank!) We hope you find some inspiration from her words yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jessica Lehmann is a badass Brooklynite, Biker, Yogi, Health Loving Cook, who we are lucky enough to know, call a friend, and draw inspiration from on the regular. (She's actually the inspiration behind Ohm K's All Night Ohm Tank!) We hope you find some inspiration from her words yourself. Happy Thanksgiving!

By: Jessica Lehmann

 

This week we’ve all been getting ready to give a lot of thanks. On thanksgiving day, I, along with so many others will carefully measure out ingredients, chop, slice and stir with love and care, not to mention make a final dash to the grocery store for an extra onion or some forgotten cranberries, before laying the table beautifully and welcoming people through the door. We will take the time to greet people, to speak to one another, and to enjoy each other’s company. And we’ll do all of this to show just how grateful we are for everything we have in the world.

Somehow, giving thanks at this time of the year comes naturally to us all. We take time to actively identify what is good in our lives, and we look to honor one another by mindfully preparing wonderful food that we sit and take time to enjoy. We put our phones away as we eat, and we linger on at the table long after we’ve finished for the pure delight of it.

Ah. What a thing it would be if we could celebrate thanksgiving every week, I thought to myself the other day… And then another thought followed. Why is it so easy to give thanks only when the outpouring of that love and affection is directed at others rather than ourselves? There are multiple studies and articles that show how beneficial being #thankful can be. They often recommend keeping a gratitude diary, or trying to express your thanks to others on a daily basis. Both of these things are doable, and could easily become habitual if we make a point of doing them every day for a couple of weeks. But to me, there’s something special about the kind of thanks that we give when we cook. That time we spend putting together the right flavors, the beautiful action of stirring a pot, the physical act of placing food on the table to nourish from within.

Despite this, we only have to look at the success of companies such as Seamless and GrubHub, and the number of people queuing up for coffee and bagels every morning, to know that cooking for ourselves is somehow looked down upon, or seen as an irritating chore that brings no great returns. My outtake? It makes us uncomfortable to show the same kindness and respect to ourselves, that we will readily show to many others. It’s confronting. We feel we don’t deserve to take that time, we can’t find thank or reward ourselves for any kindness that focused inward.

Being someone who can forget the small things that I should be thankful for (the blue sky, the warmer weather, breathing and walking), the one thing that I make a point of doing daily is cooking. Having lived in a few different countries since leaving my homeland (the UK), it’s perhaps the one constant that I have kept in my life. Wherever I am in the world, I will always know how to make - and can almost always find the ingredients for - a wonderful miso soup, or a delicious braised red cabbage and quinoa salad. Even for cakes and muffins - which have often been baked in small toaster ovens, when a proper stove was not available.

This, I realized, is my own way of showing love to myself. It’s the most simple, most practical thing I know how to do, and yet, it’s the most grounding and the most nourishing. Anything from a tough day at work, to a seasonal slump in mood to a lack of energy can be fixed by spending time in the kitchen. To me, pots and pans feel like old friends, and the ritual of soaking grains and bringing lunch to work every day is my way of saying to myself ‘you’re worth this time, you’re worth this effort’. No matter what else is going on in my life, I will always find a way of making my lunch, sealing it in a container and carrying it carefully on the subway so that when I sit down to eat that day I’m eating what I want to eat, and not what wholefoods, or Chipotle dictate to me that I should.

I know, I know… it may feel like a long-shot for many of us. ‘I don’t have time’, ‘I don’t like cooking for myself’, ‘ingredients are expensive’… But since when are WE, the no. 1 person we need to take care of, not worth the time, money and effort? Since when is it not important to give thanks to ourselves on a daily basis, and make sure that we are showing ourselves love and care? It strikes me that it’s gratitude and thanks, not only charity, that should really start at home!

And, truth be told, once you start making habit of giving thanks to yourself in this way - you’ll have other things to be thankful for:

·       Your bank balance WILL look more healthy - it’s an illusion that it’s cheaper to order in if you plan carefully and cook efficiently (more on that later)

·       Your waistline will be slimmer - when we cook for ourselves, we’re more mindful about the quality of the ingredients we choose, the quantity of oils, salt and sweeteners we include, and our portion sizes

·       Your skin and general health will improve no end - you’re more likely to incorporate a wider range of macronutrients into your diet when you’re experimenting a bit in the kitchen, not to mention you'll become more interested in how food can act as medicine for many of the aches, pains and grumbles we have in our ever day lives.

If you already make your own breakfast at home, I encourage you to try making your lunch and bringing it to work a couple of days a week. See how it feels to eat something you’ve prepared with love at lunchtime. Does it mean you’re more likely to eat away from your desk? Does it make your afternoon more bearable? Or perhaps it means your energy is more stable, spurring you to hit the gym rather than heading straight home after work?

If you tend to eat out a lot in the evening, choose one night a week to start cooking for yourself.

Inviting friends round can be great, but see how it feels to spend that time focusing on what you need. To getting quiet and calm in the kitchen, and then congratulating and giving thanks to yourself when you sit down to eat on your own. Sometimes, we need to be our own cheerleaders too! And nothing feels better than looking at the brightly colored plate of food that you’ve just put together yourself. If you’re cooking for your partner, take a moment to be thankful for the opportunity to eat delicious home cooked food together before you eat. Or maybe even cook as a pair?

There will always be excuses and resistance, especially when we live in a land where convenience rules. If you can take a moment to remind yourself of why you are worth this – why you want to nourish your body, and why it is an important act of self love to do so, it will change your entire experience of cooking and eating, I promise.

The final piece of good news is that there are a few tried and tested tricks of the trade that you can use to get yourself set up with a great cooking routine. I’ll be sharing these next week for you, but in the meantime, enjoy the holiday - show gratitude and give thanks for everything that is good in your lives, including your self! 

The Thank You Note - Cultivating a Culture of Gratitude

Katie & Katharine1 Comment

From DAY ONE we agreed that each purchase would be accompanied by a hand-written thank you note. Every single one.

These days, articles detailing the sense of entitlement that plagues millennials are a dime a dozen. And, in many ways, what you perceive is what you receive. The more we write about and expect that today’s millennials and tomorrow’s children will be entitled and thankless the more we cultivate that attitude. Now more than ever let’s celebrate the lost art of the thank you note!

What does a small note of expressed gratitude have to do with changing our “gimme gimme” culture? EVERYTHING! When we express gratitude and when we take the time to write it down, the gift becomes less about the act of getting something and more about the relationship between giver and receiver.  


Making a Connection

When you write a thank you note you establish a connection with the giver. That simple acknowledgement of their act, gift, or service binds the two of you together. It continues the conversation. Chances are the "giver" felt a sense of joy in the act of giving. You felt joy in the act of receiving. But connecting over that mutual joy binds the two of you and extends your experience. We "get, get, get" without need of human interaction. Our food is ordered online and delivered. Even our paper towels and booze can be ordered online and delivered. Sure, it's convenient, but how lonely!

We write thank you notes because we want to breach that "person-less" gap. Writing thank you notes allows us the luxury to remember why we started this business. We started it because we are so inspired by our community and we want to connect with our community. 

Valuing the Experience

When writing a thank you note, you end up reliving the experience. Just acknowledging how much something meant to you not only makes for a nice note to someone, but it lengthens the experience and adds value. In the act of writing the note, you find yourself reliving the experience and reveling in the gratitude you feel. We experience so much instant gratification that we find ourselves wanting more and more instead of valuing what we have. It's a vicious cycle. But when we take the time to stop and reflect we experience that gratitude and pleasure again and our appetite for more is sated. Many of us, we have enough, but we don't realize it because we are becoming cultured to want more and more and to want it now. Pause, experience, luxuriate in the gratitude you feel and value what you have now.

We write thank you notes because we want to value each purchase and each Ohm K girl. We don't want to lose sight of what makes our company: you, the community.  

Gratitude for You

That feeling of gratitude translates into your daily life. When we cultivate the practice of acknowledging our gifts or our experiences we don't find ourselves wanting. We feel like we have enough because we are wrapped up in the continued experience of gratitude. That gratefulness is all yours. It's for you to enjoy and you control it. 

We appreciate each order that arrives and each thank you note we write affords us the opportunity to revel in that experience of gratitude


At the end of the day, our community is what keeps us working and designing. That alone deserves a thank you note. Thank you, Community, for making Ohm K possible. 

Love,

Katie+Katharine


The Friday Five - 6

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HAPPY FRIDAY OHM K LOVES! Here's some stuff that has us grinning this week!

1. "Vote Audry"

Our dear friend Celia Rowlson-Hall has been churning out incredible choreography for years but we are particularly proud of her piece with Lena Dunham Vote Audry. "We Can and We Will". Together, if we keep lifting each other up, we can do anything. 

2. HAPPY 2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY SYNCSTUDIO BKLYN

The community at SYNCSTUDIO BKLYN is unlike any other! We are particularly fond of this yoga, cycling, and training studio because it's where we met and tossed around our first tank top ideas! All our love to kick ass dynamic duo, Ashley Lively and Karla Misjan! Thank you for creating such a wonderful home and family!

3. "Slap Her" : Children's Reactions

This video will give you chills. With children like this, our future is very, very bright.

4. Bella NYC Magazine

Our very first feature in a magazine. That's right! Printed in ink on paper! I'd be lying if I said I didn't squeal in the Barnes and Noble Union Square when I found it!

Click image to read the full article on our Press page

Click image to read the full article on our Press page

5. SPOTTED : Look at YOU rockin' YOUR OHM K!

Remember, right now, just ask you are YOU ARE OHM K! We are so grateful for you. Thank you for inspiring us and cheering us on! 

Sooohm much love,

Katie + Katharine

The Friday Five - 5

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This week's Friday Five is especially dedicated to VACATION! Where are you going on vacation this season? A.K.A. where will you be rocking your Ohm K?! Below are five of our favorite pics we've spotted of Ohm K Gals and Guys rocking their favorite swag on vay-cay.

To share where you've been feeling amazing your your favorite Ohm K be sure to tag us on Instagram at @liveohmk ! xo Happy & Healthy Travels!

1. Ohm K Girl Renee - Top of Coba Temple, the 2nd highest point in the Yucatan

1. Ohm K Girl Renee - Top of Coba Temple, the 2nd highest point in the Yucatan

2. Ohm K Guy Paul - The Great Wall of China

2. Ohm K Guy Paul - The Great Wall of China

3. Ohm K Co Founder Katharine - Tulum, Mexico

3. Ohm K Co Founder Katharine - Tulum, Mexico

4. Ohm K Ambassador BB - Miami, FL

4. Ohm K Ambassador BB - Miami, FL

5. Ohm K Co Founder Katie - Tensing Pen , Negril, Jamaica

5. Ohm K Co Founder Katie - Tensing Pen , Negril, Jamaica

The Friday Five - 4

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Happy Friday! Here are a few things that brought smiles to our faces this week.

1. EDIBLE SCHOOLYARD NYC - HEALTHY HAPPY HOUR

Ohm K's dear friend Sasha will be teaching a Healthy Happy Hour tonight at Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg to benefit one of our favorite organizations Edible Schoolyard NYC! Come move and play while supporting the efforts of an outstanding local and global cause. 

"Edible Schoolyard NYC partners with public schools in low-income areas to build, maintain and staff garden and kitchen classrooms—all right on the school premises. We equip students with the hands-on knowledge, skills and environment needed to reverse the obesity trend and teach kids organic, healthy eating habits they can enjoy and share for an entire lifetime."

2. want to teach yoga? - mind body green

Woman oh woman we have amazingly fierce friends! Ohm K's friend Lisa, founder of nicepipes (nicepipes will also be sponsoring our Earth Day ride April 22nd...see below for details), published an article this week in Mind Body Green helping more yoga teachers score jobs at their desired studios. Lisa has years of expert experience behind her belt in this subject, so if you need a fresh resume to approach getting your dream job we highly recommend this read!

3. elephant journal (elephant books) kick starter

Calling all Elephant Journal lovers and love lovers alike. Our friend and founder/CEO of Elephant Journal Waylon Lewis is writing a book. He's also starting a new made in the USA publishing company in doing this, Elephant Books. Elephant Books will serve writers by using elephantjournal.com's platform while paying authors approximately 50%, not 8-15%—changing an industry paradigm, making sure authors are well paid.

Please consider giving not only to make this surely excellent book come to life but also to help writers make a true living at their craft.

4. Bliss Body Yoga's 31 Day Challenge

Bliss Body Yoga in Raleigh, North Carolina challenged their yogis to take 20 classes in 31 days. Bruce Branson completed 34 classes in 30 days. Here he is with Nancy Watson, both rockin' Ohm K! We couldn't be more thrilled!

5. SPOTTED - You all are lookin' FLY in your Ohm K!

We love you and your fierceness. We love you now as you are. You are Ohm K everyday. Keep shinning bright lovers!

Thank you for lifting us up every day, for inspiring us, for being part of the Ohm K community and mission. We couldn't do ANY of this without you. Thank you for helping us live our passion! ~ Sooooohm Much Love, Katharine & Katie

Thank you for lifting us up every day, for inspiring us, for being part of the Ohm K community and mission. We couldn't do ANY of this without you. Thank you for helping us live our passion! ~ Sooooohm Much Love, Katharine & Katie

P.S. BONUS POST!

Spots are filling up fast for our Earth Day ride at SYNCStudio BKLYN! Ohm K Co Founder Katie can't wait to dance with you on the bike while supporting Edible Schoolyard NYC. Come join in the sweaty fun by signing up for class on April 22nd at 7:15pm. You'll also be riding for your chance to win prizes from Ohm K, THINK, nicepipes, and Tucketts! Each rider will go home with a goodie bag filled with treats from Rootology, Arbonne, Caveman Bars, and  WTRMLN WTR

See you there lovers!

The Friday Five - 3

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HAPPY FRIDAY! What a wonderful (emphasis on the FULL) week! Here are a five things we are thrilled to share with you on this warm spring day.

1. HEALTHY HAPPY HOUR

We are so stoked to be one of the amazing sponsors for this event. Our sweet girl Sasha Nelson will be teaching a juicy Vinyasa followed by discounts at Sweetgreen Williamsburg (nom nom nom)! All proceeds go to benefit Edible Schoolyard NYC!! Click here to register :)

2. The Mix-A-Lot and Pants are BACK IN STOCK

You spoke and we listened!!! Our Mix-A-Lot tanks are back in stock as well as our black and blue pants! Greet the changing season with this cheeky tank and let these pants help you soar in your practice.

3. Earth Day Ride and ESYNYC

Earth Day is Wednesday April 22, but we are celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! A dollar from every Nah Imma Stay tank benefits Edible Schoolyard NYC, but we're taking it a step further. For the month of April 5% of all profit will also go to Edible Schoolyard NYC. The fun doesn't stop there. On Earth Day, OhmK Co-Founder Katie will be teaching a sponsored class at SYNCStudio BKLYN! Come out and enjoy goodies and giveaways from NicePipes, ThinkAllways, WTRMLN WTR, Rootology, Ohm K, and Tucketts! With this ride our goal is to spread the word about Edible Schoolyard NYC, some of our favorite local small businesses, and celebrate with sweat! Reserve your spot here!

4. Dove's #OneBeautifulThought

"If it's not acceptable to say to someone else, why say it to ourselves?" I have to admit, this was a hard video to watch. It drives home a very important message. Right now, we challenge you to think one beautiful thought about yourself. Go ahead, take a moment and do it. How good did that feel?! You are beautiful and you deserve to think BEAUTIFUL thoughts about yourself. 

5. SPOTTED - Love seeing all these yogis looking FIERCE in their Ohm K on Instagram

HAPPY FRIDAY!

All day every day we are grateful for you! Thank you for another wonderful week. We're so grateful for this community. Sooohm much love and sooohm much gratitude!

Love,

Katie & Katharine

The Friday Five - 2

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And another week bites the dust! Here are the things that filled our hearts with joy, put smiles on our faces, and/or infused us with motivation! Ready, set, GO!

1. 5 Ways to Quit Beating Yourself Up at Your Workouts

Click the image to read the article

Click the image to read the article

We love these tips from our friends at WellandGoodNYC!! Your journey to wellness requires more than eating right and showing up to the studio. On top of the motivation to show up, you also have to quiet that judgmental voice in your head that tries to bring you down. Way easier said than done. We are all guilty of it, but we don't have to give into it! Celebrate your victories. Celebrate the fact that you showed up! Celebrate the struggle and impending growth you'll experience! Celebrate your sweat!

2. We LOVE this INSTAGRAM from our friend @yoga_davina

"'Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.' - so many have said this and I believe it is so true" - @yoga_davina

"'Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.' - so many have said this and I believe it is so true" - @yoga_davina

We love this INSTAGRAM post from @yoga_davina!!! She's super strong in her shoulders to support this asana, has fantastic alignment and form, and is obviously having fun ROCKING her Ohm K pants! 

3. Kelly's Smile: We Can Help Cover Kelly Owens' Medical Costs

Click the image to find her Give Forward page

Click the image to find her Give Forward page

This fierce woman is Kelly Owens. She reached out to us with support and love after reading Katharine's post in Elephant Journal. Like Katharine, Kelly is fighting a digestive disease. This vibrant woman is battling Crohns Disease. We were so touched by the love and light that she sent to Katharine and want to send it right back to her! Please consider donating to help cover her medical expenses. Every little bit helps. "We rise by lifting others." Robert Ingersoll

4. The Key to Authentic Freedom and Creative Well-Being is Eating Exactly What You Want

Click the image to read the article

Click the image to read the article

5. Armor for Everyday from Fierce Forward

Click the image to find the Fierce Forward Shop

Click the image to find the Fierce Forward Shop

All of the bracelets sold by Fierce Forward at called Armor. For each battle ahead you are armed with what protects and inspires you. Find empowerment in the beauty and strength in the message. This brings a whole new meaning to the term "power suit".

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Every week we are more and more inspired by you. Your pictures, comments, messages, emails, what an amazing community we have. We definitely feel your love and hope you feel ours too. Have a wonderful weekend. Spoil yourself. You deserve it!

Love,

Katie & Katharine


The Friday Five - 1

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HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SPRING! It may not feel like it up here in the Big Apple, but this day does bring a promise of warmth, sunshine, and blooming life. Let's celebrate! Here are Five things that have made our hearts swoon this week. 

1. The Past 7 Months: What I've Lost and What I'm Finding - by Katharine Lucic

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/03/the-past-7-months-what-i-lost-what-im-finding-nudity/

This is the journey of Ohm K Co-Founder, Katharine Lucic. The past seven months have been a battle, but she is a survivor. An epic woman. I am constantly in awe of her and inspired by her strength and grace. She is truly incredible and I am honored to be her partner. 

The outpouring of love and support for Katharine from the Elephant Journal community has meant so much to us. We are so inspired by the fierce love and encouragement that has been sent her way. All of the messages, comments, and emails have been so supportive. We are overflowing with gratitude and love. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!

2. Take 12 minutes and watch Meaghan Ramsey's incredible TED Talk - 
Why Thinking You're Ugly is Bad for You

Go ahead! Give your reflection a big sloppy kiss! This TED talk is a very worthwhile 12 minutes. Love YOU!

3. Responsibility: Give a Little, Take a Little - by Sasha Nelson

*Photo by Ashley Mead at Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

*Photo by Ashley Mead at Sangha Yoga Shala in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

We love Sasha Nelson's blog! Read her take on Responsibility. Giving the world your best also means giving yourself the best, and many times we can't do this all on our own! Also, be sure to check out her mouthwatering recipes!

4. A BuzzFeed Article after our own hearts. 

Take a few minutes to scroll through these "37 Totally Perfect Bikini Bodies". You'll see why we are obsessed. All sizes and colors, and that goes for the bikini's too! ;) Seriously, we hear girls say, "I'm working on my bikini body," all the time. You are BEAUTIFUL right now! "There's no such thing as perfect. Only perfectly you." Put that bikini on and RELAX! You're FABULOUS!

5. This week we had the pleasure of introducing Ohm K to COSMOPOLITAN 

cosmo.jpg

Obviously, we were two very excited Ohm K gals. We had FanGirl faces the whole time! 

HAPPY FRIDAY

Thank you for another beautiful week! We are so inspired by you. Thank you for supporting us every day with your encouragement and love. We hope to do the same for you. Every day we feel like the luckiest gals. Thank you for being you.

Sooohm much love,

Katie and Katharine

The Past 7 Months, What I've lost and What I'm learning

Katie & Katharine23 Comments
This is my body today. This is my body when it's able to process nutrients, after three surgeries and almost a year of illness. This is my body in remission. I have fat, I have scars, I have my life ahead of me.

This is my body today. This is my body when it's able to process nutrients, after three surgeries and almost a year of illness. This is my body in remission. I have fat, I have scars, I have my life ahead of me.

Seven months ago if you had asked me who I was I would have told you I was a wife, a badass yoga teacher, struggling actress, co founder of a women’s wellness apparel company Ohm K, a 28 year old, etc. Today I’m just Katharine, and I’m going to try to stick to that.

I, Katharine, have Ulcerative Colitis, a disease that affects my large intestine. It causes ulcers and open sores in my colon and urgent and frequent diarrhea. It comes in waves called flare-ups. I haven’t been in remission for 5 years, until now. Below is the story of my relationship with this disease, what I’ve lost, and what I’m finding in ongoing attempts to accept myself, as I am right now, in each moment, every day.

Ulcerative Colitis crept up on me in 2008, although I know I had been experiencing on and off symptoms for over 3 years before.  At this point in 2008 I was going to the bathroom about 20 times per day and what came out was strange white mush and bright red blood.  I was exhausted and depressed. I couldn’t get out of bed and although I had probably lost a few pounds because of lack of nutrients I was convinced I was “fat” because my intestines were inflamed and sticking out, so I went to the gym twice per day.

When I finally confessed what was going on to my mother she helped me immediately find a gastroenterologist in the city I was attending college and I had my first emergency colonoscopy at the age of 22. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and started a treatment.  This treatment lasted a year or so and I was feeling well enough to stop taking my prescribed medication.  Really what was happening was I was ignoring my body.  Denying my illness.  An illness that there is no cure for. The only way to cure Ulcerative Colitis is to remove your colon.

It went on like this for a few years.  I would go on and off meds as I “felt” like and changed doctors frequently. I was ignoring my body and the disease so fiercely that I didn’t even learn to spell colitis correctly until I had been diagnosed for six years.

Then it all happened. I had been on a drug called Asacol HD for about a year and it was…well…it was sort of working.  I had blood here and there but no diarrhea or urgency since 2008 so I just sort of accepted that that’s the way things were always going to be and that I was “fine”.  No….blood in stool is absolutely a sign that something is wrong, but I had no idea what that “wrong” could mean because I had ignored learning about and getting to know my disease for so many years.

One day in May of 2014 I began almost having accidents.  Running and rushing and looking for toilets during long bus and subway commutes in New York City.  Have you ever had to get off a train at Union Square in Manhattan run into a Starbucks, buy bottled water to get a passcode to the bathroom while praying to mother earth that you don’t shit your pants, while casually bolting for a bathroom last shared by half of New York?  I have multiple times.  I hope you never have to.  

I went to my Gastroenterologist to figure out what to do.  He wanted to put me on Prednisone, a steroid. A few of the side effects of Prednisone are listed below:

Headache, dizziness, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, inappropriate happiness, extreme changes in mood, changes in personality, bulging eyes, acne, thin fragile skin, red or purple blotches or lines under the skin, slowed healing of cuts and bruises, increased hair growth, changes in the way fat is spread around the body, extreme tiredness, weak muscles, irregular or absent menstrual periods, decreased sexual desire, heartburn, increased sweating, vision problems or blindness, eye pain, redness, or tearing, sore throat, fever, chills, cough, or other signs of infection, seizures, depression, loss of contact with reality, confusion, muscle twitching or tightening, shaking of the hands that you cannot control, numbness, burning, or tingling in the face, arms, legs, feet, or hands, upset stomach, vomiting, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, sudden weight gain, shortness of breath, especially during the night, dry hacking cough, swelling or pain in the stomach, swelling of the eyes, face, lips, tongue, throat, arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs, difficulty breathing or swallowing, rash, hives, itching. Oh yeah, and one no doctor or website ever mentioned, Avascular Necrosis. But we’ll get to that later.

I immediately said I was uncomfortable with steroids.  Didn’t like them.  Didn’t want them.  But my doctor somehow convinced me this was the right route and that after a few weeks we would slowly taper me off of the steroids and I would be back to normal. So, I started taking 30 mg per day of Prednisone.

It felt like a miracle! No more almost accidents. No more blood! I was on cloud 9.  I couldn’t remember the last time I hadn’t seen blood in my stool.

Then my husband and I went off on our yearly summer trip to Croatia and it seemed out of nowhere, but I began going to the bathroom about 40 times per day.  I was completely out of control of when my body needed to go. After four beautiful days in the sun I spent the next 6 lying on a bed close to the bathroom.

This is about the time I can say that I started losing my ability to have a proper relationship with my husband. I started losing him, because I had to become entirely devoted to trying to take care of myself and didn’t have the strength to take care of him or the health to even spend time together. This feeling I had lost the ability to really be a wife only increased over the never several months.

I then spent about 20 hours alone making my way back to New York City trying to plug myself up with anti diarrhea meds. Three pairs of underpants later I made it back. I got in a cab and called my mother who talked me out of going to an emergency room. In retrospect I probably should have gone.

I went home. It was a Wednesday night. I was in more pain then I had ever been in my life. My husband wouldn’t be home for another 10 days and I had to make myself better.  I couldn’t eat anything.  Even drinking water seemed to make me have to go. I would learn over the next three weeks to live off of chicken, rice, saltines, Gatorade and Pedialyte.

I called into work and told them I’d have to work from home. I was also a yoga teacher and taught about 7 classes each week and was determined to teach, which I still did.  It seemed for a long time that the only way my body wouldn’t have me sprinting for a toilet was when I was teaching…eventually I did almost have accidents in classes though.

I remember trying to go see my friend in a Broadway show that first weekend being back home and having to leave at intermission because I had to run to the bathroom.  I walked back to the subway thinking about making it home in time for my next bathroom run, when my right foot began to scream with every step I took.  No swelling, no sign of a break, I hadn’t done anything to it.  But then I realized that my body was so void of nutrition and hydration that my muscles were crapping uncontrollably. It took a week for the pain to go away.

I went to my Gastroenterologist that Friday and was sent on a 40 minute walk to a lab for testing. The lab then sent me home to make a stool sample, which I would have to come back with the next day. On Monday we discovered I had Clostridium Difficile, a bacteria. The cause of my developing this is still unknown. This meant two weeks of an anti biotic that would destroy my colon even further but hopefully knock out the Clostridium Difficile.  This reduced my bathroom running to about 15 times per day. And when at the end of two weeks of anti biotics I was not feeling any better at all my husband recommended I go see a new doctor. I did, and he and my husband saved my life.

I went to go see my new doctor and knew right away I had come to the right place.  He recommended that we do a colonoscopy to determine where my colon was after my attack of Clostridium Difficile, and the state we found my colon in was extremely severe. We planned for me to start a biological drug called Remicade.  I would have to wait two weeks for the hospital’s infusion center to get me on their schedule so for the next two weeks he bumped by steroid dosage up to 60 mg per day to help with inflammation. I was still waking up 5 times a night to go to the bathroom and going about 10 more times during the day. I had lost about 16 lbs and still couldn’t gain any of it back. For a month now I had lost my ability to eat, my ability to sleep and a massive amount of weight.

It was around this time that I started getting a lot of compliments about my appearance. I had lost those 16 pounds due to lack of nutrients but still had a summer tan and defined muscles from yoga. My body was quite literally dying but I kept hearing how great I looked. I was so angry at those people complimenting me. How could they not see my constant pain? How could they see what I had lost as beauty?

This was about the time I was starting to get compliments. I had lost about 11 lbs when this photo was taken and would continue to loose. Whatever the perception of beauty was form the outside, on the inside I was dying. In fact about two weeks after this was shot I would be in the hospital, in a near death situation.

This was about the time I was starting to get compliments. I had lost about 11 lbs when this photo was taken and would continue to loose. Whatever the perception of beauty was form the outside, on the inside I was dying. In fact about two weeks after this was shot I would be in the hospital, in a near death situation.

At this point I was determined I was going to be feeling better, and then the next, out of the fucking blue, thing happened…

I woke up on a Tuesday morning at 1am in excruciating pain, this time in my knees and ankles. I looked for swelling, or discoloration.  They were throbbing and wouldn’t stop. I text my bosses finally at 3am to let them know I’d have to cancel my 7:30am yoga class because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk let alone teach asana.

So, imagine just for a moment that you had to run to the bathroom 15 times per day/night and now couldn’t even do that. You must crawl, or use your walls and doorways to get you to the toilet.  It’s like waking up blind, or at least it felt that way. I had now lost my ability to walk and would soon realize that I wouldn’t be able to call myself a yoga teacher again for a very long time.

After no sleep at all and crying out all night in bed in pain I called my doctor at 8am. He assured me this was arthritic like symptoms brought on by my Ulcerative Colitis flare.  I took his word for it.  The pain pretty much subsided on Wednesday and Thursday but I still couldn’t walk very well.  Then Friday it came back with a vengeance and on Saturday I started breaking into full body shaking that I couldn’t stop.  Whole body shakes, teeth chattering non stop for 45 minutes. Then fevers. This happened again Sunday.  We called my doctor and rushed to the hospital.

I had septic blood. I had contracted Salmonella and it had gotten into my blood stream through my damaged colon. It then crept into my right hip making it impossible for me to walk and causing me to have hip surgery to flush out the bacteria.  I was in the hospital for 12 days.

It look many painful days after the surgery to realize I wouldn’t be able to walk for months on my own and wouldn’t be able to even practice yoga for many months afterwards, let alone teach it. I felt like my entire identity had been ripped from me within minutes when the surgeon tried to tell me this just before rushing in for surgery. When I was told this just minutes before going under the knife I looked into my husband’s eyes and just sobbed. He looked at me very sternly and said, “But you will be alive. I almost became a widower in the past few days. You will be alive.” I knew he spoke the most important truth I could learn and hear in that moment, but it would take a very long time to give up mourning that loss. The loss of a part of who I was.

During this time, a time of near death, I experienced the most incredible and fierce expressions of love. My husband who had already worried him self to a near mental breakdown was there every second I needed him, my mother traveled from across the country and sat with me all day and night for my last 7 days in the hospital. My friend bathed me when I couldn’t do it myself and held my hand until my husband got there to rush me into surgery. My best friends came and had hang out parties in my room while I dosed off on painkillers trying to keep up on the conversation. My room became a jungle of flowers, so much so that we had to give them away to other patients because my husband and mother couldn’t be in the room anymore due to all the pollen. My boss and friend came to just be with me while she worked on her laptop. Another dear friend just came and stood next to me so I would have someone there while being in excruciating pain.  My business partner and dear friend ran our entire business, work four jobs and found time to come hang out at my bedside. I told my friends I wanted pink crutches and my friend and her husband came and wrapped my crutches in hot pink duct tape. While using these amazing crutches the other day a 5 year old and her dad walked by and I heard her say “Dad, when I get hurt one day, can I have pink crutches?” I say this so you understand how cool they are.

I’ll never know how to thank these people enough. Each one of them saved my life.

After 12 days and with a sepsis free body I left the hospital. I was sure the worst had passed.  I was sure I was on the mend.

Recovery was very very hard. It was hard because of fighting, it was hard seeing how much my illness had hurt my husband. It was hard because I couldn’t do anything but sit and be in pain. It was hard because I had to give up on my love of teaching. It was hard because I had lost all control of what I could and couldn’t do, and most parts of who I thought I was. I even lost being able to sit how I wanted to with my legs crossed in sukasana which I used to do 10 times a day. I lost being able to sleep on the right side of my body for 6 whole months, something I hope I’ll never take for granted again. Slowly I started to go to physical therapy and give up the crutches and then give up my hot pink cane. Slowly, about a month later I started to try going into my day job….thank the universe the company stood by me through all of this.

And then about a month and a half after leaving the hospital my leg started to hurt again, and my hair started to fall out. I lost my hair. We’re now at a five month point from the start of this story. 5 months of being seriously, seriously ill.

Then I noticed I was having restrictions in movement.  I couldn’t sit up straight.  I couldn’t put on my underwear or socks. So I went back to my surgeon to find out what was going on.

He sent me for an MRI and called me the next day to tell me the infection was back in my hip and to go to the hospital immediately. I went and they did a hip aspiration again (which is when they take a needle into the hip joint to extract any infected fluid), and then they took blood.  There were no beds at the hospital to admit me that night so I went home to wait. I received another call after two days of waiting telling me that my hip was actually not infected at all and that it was just inflamed for an unknown reason. So, I went back to see my surgeon and begged him for a cortisol shot into my hip which should reduce swelling. If it was really only swollen then this should solve my problem and I should be able to go on about my life. 

After a very painful injection and a week of waiting I still had absolutely no relief or progress in motion.  I went back to see my surgeon and we took an x ray. Then he gave me some very bad news. I had developed Avascular Necrosis, which is lack of blood flow to joints due usually to prolonged steroid use.  Fuck.  My right femur bone had collapsed/disintegrated/deteriorated and my left femur hadn’t, yet.

My surgeon then sent me off to Baltimore to another surgeon who was going to try to save my hips. (I immediately stopped taking the steroids. At this point I didn’t care what happened because of an abrupt medication stop. Prednisone was literally destroying my body now.) My mother flew back out to New York and she and my husband came with me to Baltimore. The surgeon there did a core decompression to my left femur bone, drilling small holes into it to try to increase blood flow in the hopes that it wouldn’t collapse. To the right and collapsed femur we ended up doing a full hip replacement after attempting a bone graft.

After six long weeks of crutches and restricted movement (no bending at my hips past a 45 degree angle, no twisting, etc.), I started to walk with my cane again on Januray 1, 2015. I’m now in physical therapy again. It’s now the beginning of March and I can say I successfully did my first child’s pose a few nights ago. My healing will be very long as my illnesses took over more than 6 months of my life.

In those months I lost all of the parts of myself that I thought identified me. I couldn’t teach yoga anymore and still probably won’t for months. I could hardly call myself a wife or someone who could actively participate in a relationship. I couldn’t call myself an actress anymore because I couldn’t work. I lost my hair; I lost the ability to do with my body what I liked, lost the ability to even leave my apartment. And I don’t think any of that is good. And I’m not glad it happened to me and my most loved people, but I can say that it is helping me feel less need to identify. Less need to derive love and joy from those things I think I am or think I’m good at. Right now I’m just Katharine trying to put a life together. And there is a lot less pressure coming from myself to be great at anything, or to get approval from others for those activities or accomplishments. As my husband said, BUT I’M ALIVE! Damn it, I think that’s good enough for now.

- Katharine Lucic , Co Founder Ohm K